Known as a Pyrénean centre for snow-related activities since Victorian times, Ax-les-Thermes is a lively town with many bars and restaurants for skiers, ski-tourers and snowboarders etc. Along with its recently renovated thermal baths, which are a great place to relax after a day in the mountains, Ax is an excellent base for the growing sport of snowshoeing. We have a variety of great snowshoeing routes here, suitable for both beginners and those with some experience. Week-long and short break trips provided.

There are day-walks through rolling terrain, ideal for all levels of snowshoeing ability. Surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery this is a trip of exhilarating, fun snowshoeing. Starting each day at 9.00am we aim to be off the mountain between 3.30 and 4.00pm, allowing time to enjoy the thermal baths or the town’s cafés and bars.

The walks will use the best of the snowshoe trails below depending on the conditions.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Airport pick-up or overland joining of group at Toulouse. Drive to Ax-les-Thermes, (720m), journey time of around 75 minutes.

Day 2 - 4/6: We drive to the route for the day which will be dependent on snow conditions and weather. If the trip is in spring, there may be some walking involved before starting to snowshoe.

The area around Ax provides a great variety of snowshoeing choices, which include the Plateau le Beille, which at 2000m provides easy terrain with a stunning mountain backdrop. Col de Chioula, at around 1600m, is undulating terrain ideal for snowshoeing with some lovely woodland trails. Col du Puymoren, on the border with Andorra has a real mountain feel while also providing safe snowshoeing. If we need to go higher for better snow we can drive into Andorra to two areas just over the border which, being high and north facing, retain snow well into the spring.

Snowshoeing is less about distances and more about the terrain. We will be on the mountain from about 10am and finish the day around 3.30pm, stopping for a picnic lunch along the way. Naturally, as we are in the mountains there will be some steep ascents and descents, up to a total of around 500m in a day.

Day 5/7: Departure day and transfer to Toulouse Airport.

PLEASE NOTE: The programme is designed to provide the most varied, challenging, but enjoyable days out in the mountains. However, weather and snow conditions may necessitate a change to the order of the programme. Safety is our primary concern so at times routes may be used which are equally enjoyable, but more suited to the prevailing conditions.

Arrivals and Departures:

We provide a group pick-up and drop-off at Toulouse Airport meeting either BA or Easyjet flights from UK. We also provide transfers to and from Toulouse train station. For those travelling by other means, please let us know if you will be meeting the group at Toulouse or making your own way to Ax-les-Thermes.

Accommodation and Meals:

Our accommodation is in either a comfortable 2* hotel, located in the heart of Ax-les-Thermes or at a charming B&B, just out of town. The short break trip price includes four nights’ accommodation and all rooms have ensuites. Prices are based on two people sharing. Please contact us for single supplement pricing. All breakfasts and 3 packed lunches and 3 evening meals are included. For the week-long trip, the price includes 7 nights’ accommodation, all breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 evening meals.

Grades:

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need the fitness level of a mountaineer to snowshoe. However, you do need a good level of fitness that includes being able to walk comfortably for up to 4 to 5 hours at a steady pace. Ascents and descents are comparable to walking in any rolling mountainous terrain.

Equipment:

Snowshoes, poles and transceivers will be provided. For clothing bring a good layering system as it can get very warm, but then easily become quite cold. Essential to your normal walking clothing are: warm hat, gloves, waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers, fleece, sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottle (1 litre min), 3-season walking boots, 35-50 litre rucksack with the ability to attach snowshoes to the outside.

Optional are: hot water flask, gaiters Note: Camelbacks or Platypus ‘s are not suitable to use for water as they can either freeze up or become very cold on your back.

Insurance:

Insurance is compulsory. Evidence of insurance will be required. Please check with your insurer that helicopter evacuation is included and that there is no restriction to the height you can ascend. Many insurers now have restrictions at 2000m.

Please ensure you have read the Booking Terms and Conditions.